CLEVELAND, Ohio — Technology funds in Ohio will make hundreds of millions of dollars available to blockchain startups, JumpStart CEO Ray Leach announced Sunday.
JumpStart, along with six other funds from across Ohio, plan to invest $100 million in early-stage startups that focus on using blockchain technology for business or government, like using the online ledger system to store government documents. FlashStarts, a local venture fund and business accelerator, also announced a $6 million pre-seed fund for blockchain startups.
Though nothing official has been announced, Leach also said additional investment teams plan to make $200 million over the next three years available for blockchain companies that take advantage of Ohio’s “Opportunity Zones.” The zones provide tax incentives for investors advocates hope could spur economic development in poor neighborhoods.
The announcement was part of the official opening events for the Blockland Solutions conference. The four-day event is sold out, and organizers hope that a successful conference will further cement efforts to make Ohio a leader in blockchain technology. Sessions began Saturday with pre-conference training opportunities for developers. The conference is sold out and will run Monday and Tuesday.
Lt. Governor-elect Jon Husted also spoke Sunday night and discussed the InnovateOhio initiative. The project aims to make Ohio’s government more tech-savvy, including putting more processes online and funding workforce credentials for Ohio workers who want to advance their skills and job opportunities.
“If you would like government to be more involved in our lives, it’s a good thing for you because if government works better they have more confidence in it. If you’re one of those people that thinks you want government less in your life, that’s good too. It will be disruptive in a way, in a constructive way, that will help create efficiencies, save money,” he said.
“We want to be the state in the Midwest that everybody turns to.”
Husted mentioned using blockchain to make it easier for Ohioans to share their information with the government. Agencies should work together to share data, Husted said, and if blockchain could create a secure, online identity with all of an Ohioan’s information that they could easily use with any agency. Doing so would cut down on paperwork.
Afternoon keynote speaker Joseph Lubin, cofounder of blockchain system Ethereum, spoke about creating an online identity with blockchain in his speech. Read more about that here.